August 10, 2012
By Erica Gelman
Have you ever wondered how interior designers just know how to get started on a design or decorating project? Have you thought to yourself you wish you could too? Well, you can – and I’ll show you how to get the most out of your decorating project by shopping like a pro.
1 Start with a Plan A plan is the most important element of your shopping excursion. Before you step foot outside your door, know where you are going and what you are looking for. We always begin with a consultation to determine what our clients already have, what pieces we can repurpose and what new items we need to be looking for. We like to call that home inventory; make a list and stick to it. Also, in your planning stages include a measured floorplan which clearly indicates windows, doors and any other obstructions to your space. Although the planning stages take up a lot of time, it will save you from costly mistakes like purchasing an oversized sofa, for example, which will not fit through your door.
2 Get Inspired Inspiration comes in different forms for every individual. It can be through art, fashion, nature or even a colour scheme that evokes your inspiration. Whatever it is that excites you and gets you inspired, try to develop a design direction from that before you head out shopping. We like to start with fabrics as a starting point as we execute a storyboard of textiles. Some of my favourite fabric retailers are: Kravet, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, and Designer Fabrics on Queen Street. You can ask for lender samples, which are perfect to take along with you everywhere you go. Look for complementary or coordinates to your selected fabrics and layer your scheme.
3 Bring your samples with you Don’t leave home without your samples. Once we have the fabrics and developed a colour scheme – we always take the swatches along with us. It is so important to get the right shade or perfect tone when comparing different retail objects. Many times you can’t remember the exact colour of your chair fabric, so having the swatches with you will aid in making the right decision. Also, when we pull out paint samples, it may not be the colour that we are necessarily applying to the walls but rather the ones we are building the plan through. This is especially important when it comes to selecting large-scaled items like your area rug, because it is such a prominent feature to your space, you want it to be the perfect tone and balance the other finishes.
4 Take your time Shopping is exhilarating, it is fun but it can also be overwhelming. I’m a firm believer that it does not have to be done in one day. On the contrary, if you speed up your shopping you’ll end up making decisions based on time and not on what actually works. I suggest bringing your camera with you and taking as many pictures as possible. You may find that once you’re in the comfort of your own home, you no longer have the same admiration towards that chandelier as you once did in the bright & sparkly showroom. If you’re shopping vintage or purchasing through a consignment store, ask if you can bring the
items home and see if they work in your space, this is typically for smaller items like lamps, vases or decorative objects.
ERICA’S FAVOURITE SHOPS
Lighting & accessories
Toronto-based interior stylist and designer Erica Gelman, Principal of Erica Gelman House of Design specializes in both large and small scale residential design projects throughout Toronto and the GTA. Known for enhancing and creating new possibilities in every space of your home. House Of Design